Did you know that there are more tigers in American backyards than there are in the wild around the world?

Only just a century ago there were 100,000 tigers roaming the forests, swamps, and tundra of Asia. Sadly today there are as few as 3,200 left in the wild. As far as tigers left in historic tiger habitat, there are only 7% left. At this rate, wild tigers will be extinct in just a few decades. The main threat to tigers is poaching for tiger parts such as skin, bones, teeth and claws which is used for human consumption or medicinal purposes in the Asian countries.

There is however another population of tigers in the world that is larger than those still surviving in the wild. These tigers are not wild but rather in captivity in the United States. With an estimated 5,000 tigers, the U.S. captive tiger population exceeds the approximately 3,200 tigers in the wild.

Only six percent of the U.S. captive tiger population resides in zoos and other facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The rest are found in other the hands of private collectors. And despite the tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio, there continues to be lax management of the captive tiger population. This means that thousands of these big cats are still found in backyards, urban apartments, sideshows, truck stops and private breeding facilities.

Some are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, some under state regulation, and some under virtually no regulation at all. In many jurisdictions, people can legally keep a tiger on their property without reporting it to local officials or neighbors. In some states, it is easier to buy a tiger than to adopt a dog from a local animal shelter which is really frightening.

What this means is that the lack of regulation of captive tigers is a major threat to public safety. With little or no government oversight many tigers can be held in areas that may not be adequately secured. Another problem is that government officials are rarely able to determine how many tigers there are in captivity within their state borders, or where they are, or who owns them. Also undetected is what happens to their body parts when they die which are highly prized on the black market.

But the tide is starting to change in the U.S. Thanks to prohibitions in the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act” which was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year, the U.S. is finally now taking a step in the right direction. Last month, Senator John Kerry introduced a companion bill (S. 3547) in the U.S. Senate.

Also several conservation and animal welfare organizations such as WWF and TRAFFIC have submit a joint petition to the USDA asking for a ban on public contact with tiger cubs in petting zoos. WWF is also calling for a ban on private ownership of tigers. Tigers need all the help they can get if they are to remain in this world and not fall into the eternal abyss of extinction.

VIDEO Tigers Among US

Responses to "More Captive owned Tigers in the U.S. than remain in the Wild (Video)"

  1. This is so sad. I think a lot of people love tigers and some have even dreamed of owning one, but common sense tells us that these beautiful babies have needs that we can not address.

  2. Anonymous says:

    They need to be set free. Maybe they should put the ppl in cages.

  3. Unknown says:

    Oh God! Why can't the wildlife fed. take these tigers and have them shipped back to be put back in the wild! this is horrible!

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